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Dave Chappelle in "Chappelle's Show"

Dave Chappelle

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Dave Chappelle is a one-of-a-kind comic that is smart enough to notice the lines he’s crossing, just so that he can go farther the next time around. Racy and brash, Dave’s humor is no-holds-barred and, as a result, has made him one of the most successful comics of the past decade with more 40 appearances on national programs like “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Dave’s comic wit is so sharp, you’d think he’s been doing this ever since he was a kid. That’s probably because he has, starting out at the age of 14 working gigs in Washington D.C. before moving on to study acting at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the early 1990s. After being booed off the stage during his Apollo Theater stand-up debut, Dave honed his comedy skills and quickly got himself back on track by 1992, appearing in the “Russell Simons’ Def Comedy Jam” HBO Special. By the mid-90s, Dave had already appeared in a few Hollywood productions and made history as the youngest comic to appear on an HBO "Comic Relief" special.

Critical renown and growing success flooded Dave in the next few years as he signed numerous production deals with Disney and FOX, wrote for "The Dana Carvey Show" and appeared in blockbuster comedies like "The Nutty Professor," all while building his own following of fans with the cult classic, "Half Baked." In 2000, Dave co-produced, co-wrote and starred in the HBO special, "Dave Chappelle: Killin' Them Softly," a riotous stand-up performance that only increased his already growing popularity with the critics and his audience. Dave continued a streak of A-grade comedy when he lent his voice as the prank caller, Shavin, on Comedy Central's innovative show, "Crank Yankers," an unusual and vulgar program that employs puppets as their main characters. The success of his characters on the show triggered the comedy channel to offer the comedian his own comedy sketch show that following year, and before the world was ready, "Chappelle's Show" blasted its way onto television sets everywhere, offending innocent channel surfers and forming a core audience that helped the show become one of cable's most popular programs. Now that Dave has become an international star with his immensely admired show, expect the young comedian to unleash a myriad of side-splitting projects as he continues to represent his generation as one of the finest comedians in history.

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Dave on the Web

An internet database of Dave's film and TV career.

Dave on the Screen

Dave's film career is dominated by cult favorites, but aside from the Norm McDonald/Danny DeVito comedy "Screwed," he hasn't made anything too horrible. Although Dave has yet to appear in a starring role onscreen -- with the exception of "Half Baked," which he co-wrote -- he has compiled an impressive list of hilarious supporting roles in films like "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "The Nutty Professor," Blue Streak" and "Undercover Brother." A few less notable appearances include his role as Tom Hanks' best friend in "You've Got Mail" and as the prisoner, Pinball, in the action flick, "Con Air." Dave's first shot at television wasn't a huge success (the short-lived ABC sitcom "Buddies"), but after lending his voice to Comedy Central's puppet-fest "Crank Yankers," he was offered to produce his own show and has recently thrust himself back into the limelight as one of the decade's brightest comedians.

From the Mouth of Dave

On race:
"I still think people do have racial hang-ups, but I think one of the reasons I can joke about it is people are shedding those racial hatreds."